Industry wins delay on flotation foam blowing agent ban

The recreational boating industry won a significant regulatory victory last week, as the Environmental Protection Agency opted to allow the use of a chemical used in marine flotation foam until 2020.

HFC-134a, a blowing agent used in the application of marine flotation foam, was originally scheduled to be banned in marine manufacturing by 2017 under the proposed rule published last year. The final rule, published Friday, extends that ban from 2017 to 2020.

HFC-134a is used by many boat builders and many builders, along with the National Marine Manufacturers Association, worked to have the rule delayed.

“With no other alternative readily available, this would have been a crippling blow to many manufacturers throughout the industry,” the NMMA said in a statement. “To combat this misguided proposal, NMMA organized interested parties such as the U.S. Coast Guard, boat builders, and HFC-134a foam suppliers through Boating United, successfully convincing the EPA to extend the ban until 2020, giving more time for an alternative, Coast Guard approved substance to be made available to boat builders.”

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